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Jun 20, 2011 08:05 PM

Can you help me? ISO small town, great food, within a couple hours of Paris for 2-3 day visit.

Hello Chowhounders,
Will be going to Paris this August. Want to spend 2-3 days in a smaller town with great food, not too far away. Can you help me with any ideas? I would appreciate your input. Thanks. Randy

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  1. Reims for Champagne and food.
    Lyon -- the old saying goes that if Paris is the heart of France, Lyon is her stomach -- wine, food, Unesco heritage, Roman ruins, architecture...

    Not suggesting the south, because August will mean everything is a zoo (peak tourist season)

    1 Reply
    1. re: sunshine842

      Lyon sounds like a great idea. i think it's 2 hrs by train...Thanks!

    2. Catch the train to Roanne (2.5 hrs), have a meal at Troisgros.

      13 Replies
      1. re: jeremyholmes

        AHA! but Roanne is a short local train ride from Lyon!

        Not sure how many places will be closed for "vacances," but Lyon is definitely a great place to spend time. So much to see and do, and all within walking distance of your hotel if you stay in the Centre Ville.

        Reims is a great place as well, with so many bubbles one can't begin to count. And two of the finest restaurants in France... Assiette Champenoise and Les Crayeres.

        1. re: ChefJune

          Lyon seems pretty large. Still charming? Want the few days away from Paris to be a slower pace.

          1. re: MirandazFood

            For 2, 3 days, why not the nearby Normandy coast, like Trouville.
            Good seafood eateries, beautiful coast. And you can take a bus to nearby Honfleur with even better seafood. All in all, a beautiful stretch of the coast.

            1. re: Parigi

              When we spent July in Paris, this was a long weekend trip for us. It was fabulous. We rented a car so that we could explore a bit. I look forward to a repeat.

              1. re: Parigi

                We like a bigger town, and without a Car would 3 days in Trouville be boring.
                Any great Restaurants within a reasonable Taxi ride?
                We spent a week in Dijon last Sept. and love Lyon were never bored in either and had some excellent Food.
                We need to fit in a 3 day trip because we are departing Brussels, and need to be in Paris 3 days later.
                Have spent a week in both Lille, and Reims.
                Enjoyed both, but looking for something new close to Paris

                1. re: erly

                  3 days in Trouville and nowhere else would indeed be boring. But Trouville can be a base, from which you go visit Honfleur one day and Rouen another day.
                  Another good base, with many interesting nearby towns and good food, is Arles. And you don't need a car. 2.5 hour train from Paris to Avignon, then short bus to Arles.
                  Or Bordeaux.

                  1. re: Parigi

                    spent a week last year eating drinking, and loving Bordeaux,
                    Also have been to Avignon many times, but I really don't want to be off and on Trains in a short 3 day visit.
                    Looking more for a walkable town with great food and Museums.
                    Might just go back to Reims if there are no other suggestions.

                    1. re: erly

                      erly, have you been to Lyon? It's just 2 hours from Paris on the TGV, and more things to see and do within walking distance of the Presque'Isle than you could possibly do in 3 days. Great food, and wonderful museums. Not to mention the Traboules and the Roman Ruins.

                      1. re: ChefJune

                        Hi Chef June
                        We have discussed our experiences in Lyon with you on this Board
                        Love Lyon.
                        The most walkable large City in France.
                        and the food!!!!
                        We usually stay a week when we go there.
                        But we are Seniors really not wanting a long distance for three days, just something close to Paris with good Food, of course.

                        1. re: erly

                          Tours, great interesting medium sized city, really fantastic food and... wine!! 55 minutes from Paris by TGV.


              2. re: MirandazFood

                Lyon itself is very charming. Some of the suburbs/towns nearby may be a little "gritty," but Lyon has the Old Town, with its traboules and Roman ruins along with spectacular museums, restaurants, shopping.

                1. re: ChefJune

                  I agree. Thought is is a big city, when you get into the area between the two rivers and up into the Old Town, it is quite nice and laid back.

            2. Do you have a car? Makes a huge difference where you can go.
              Also, many restaurants are closed in August. There is no rule on which ones will be closed and which ones will be open. To find out, you have to find the info on their website or call them.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Parigi

                Would like to take train to cut off some travel time.

              2. The historic town of Rouen is easy to access and has a plethora of restaurants from La Couronne of Julia Child fame to Gill and many fine, lesser lights. Famous for the cathedral immortalized by Monet and also the roasting of Joan of Arc.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Laidback

                  I'm laughing. You're talking about restaurants, then the roasting of Joan of Arc. LOL

                2. Great ideas, so far. Or, take the train to Dijon. We stayed in this apartment which is 50 yards from the central square and its restaurants, 10 minutes from the Halles plus its surrounding restaurants, including DZ's Envies. Excellent kitchen, dining space and private outdoor dining area. Free international phone calls plus a Mac. Sweet host.

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: mangeur

                      Sounds nice. We're looking at Dijon too. If it's good enough for MFK Fisher...